Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry for our viewers to learn more about the leading cannabis executives of our time.
This week, we highlight Steve Mackey, Founder of Lodestone Data. Steve Mackey is an award-winning business entrepreneur and top sales performer with a strong enterprise management record and a history of leveraging operational efficiencies through the application of appropriate technology. In the areas of sales and new business development, Steve has consistently exceeded sales objectives, successfully prepared responses to RFPs, RFQs, and RFIs, and recruited sales teams. He has experience in sales training, marketing program development, pricing, and possesses a wide variety of technical knowledge in database design, development, and reporting.
Steve earned his BA in Foreign Languages from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, where he received the 1992 Governor’s Award, and served as the Pi Nu Spanish National Honor Society President. He was also a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Honor Society. Steve currently lives in San Diego.
In our interview with Steve, we asked a variety of questions to gain further insight into being a cannabis entrepreneur:
Welcome, Steve, and congratulations on being DCN’s Entrepreneur of the Week. Can you please tell our readers more about Lodestone Data?
Steve Mackey: Lodestone Data is an RFID-based inventory and grow management platform that saves large-scale cannabis cultivators time, money, and labor. We minimize error and maximize efficiency.
Interesting; how do you feel Lodestone is helping make a positive impact on the cannabis industry?
Steve Mackey: We are building a company that allows cultivators to focus more time on growing quality product instead of data entry and inventory. But the reason that we are in this space, to begin with, is so that we can be change-agents and promote access to legal and safely-cultivated cannabis for all Americans.
Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?
Steve Mackey: I have been honored and privileged to meet so many people who are genuinely interested in helping my company deliver.
Tell me about a major project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant to your career?
Steve Mackey: I’ve had many accomplishments in my professional career in the library industry but my most satisfying one was the move to the cannabis industry.
What is the hardest part about launching a startup?
Steve Mackey: For me, it’s staying laser-focused on your core business. There are so many ways to contribute to the industry at large, but these are distractions if they don’t help you deliver on your initial business goals.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone who is looking to launch a startup in the cannabis industry?
Steve Mackey: Look at your skill set and see what you can do to bring that to the table – not everyone needs to be a grower or a dispensary owner to contribute to this exploding industry.
How do you stay balanced living this entrepreneurial lifestyle?
Steve Mackey: There’s not much free time in the average day to maintain any balance, but when I can, I like to unwind by cooking, reading, listening to music – one day I will learn the Ukelele!
Founder to Founder, we all are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you made that turned into one of your biggest learning lessons?
Steve Mackey: It’s critical to have a good professional team to surround you. Dot the I’s and cross the T’s on your organizational setup so that you aren’t dragged down by organizational dysfunction.
Any books you are currently reading or that you would like to recommend to our readers?
Steve Mackey: I would recommend “The Founder’s Dilemmas” by Noam Wasserman. If only I had read this a year ago!
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Steve Mackey: Determination, flexibility, and being a life-long learner.
Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Steve Mackey: We received investment from Canopy San Diego, angel investors, and “Friends of Lodestone” and most are actively engaged in helping us add value to the company.
When looking at the cannabis industry, how can we continue to make a positive difference in society?
Steve Mackey: We have to rise above other industry standards for ethical practices and community outreach so that those people who are just learning about the cannabis industry don’t see profits as the only driving force for cannabis entrepreneurship.
To learn more about Lodestone Data, you can go to www.lodestonedata.com
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